Gabon’s Political Force is its Thriving Hip-Hop Scene

Foreword from Listen To The World

Everyone knows that Hip Hop was born in the South Bronx, United States, but we’re not too sure if this historic birthplace still matters to most Hip Hop artists today. Since its emergence in the 90s, the studio style has dominated the Hip Hop scene in the US and later spread to many regions across the world such as East Asia, Southeast Asia, Western Europe, South America, and Africa. This popular studio style, like it or not, has overshadowed the true form and purpose of Hip Hop.

‘Breaking’ (the precursor of Hip Hop), founded by Kool Herc in the mid 70s, was a movement to address street-gang wars and socio-economic injustice manifested in a “battle” form of art (see “Music is Art because it’s Political”). It was far from being a, sorry to say, “commodity” like the mainstream Hip Hop music we are listening to.

Being mainstream or commercial is not a bad thing, as long as it is not out of context. There’s an interesting event that has happened in Gabon, Africa. Over there Hip Hop was initially treated as a trendy fashion. The so-called ‘bling-bling’, the offspring of studio style, was the first type of Hip Hop introduced in Gabon. It became so popular so it was exploited for political campaign. Over the years, Hip Hop in Gabon has transformed into a social movement and a vehicle to challenge any political unjustness.

The important point here is that the commercial-turned-political Gabonese Hip Hop is a complete reversal of what has happened in the US. From a historical perspective, an art form has always been born out of socio-political context. There was never an art form that was developed from being a commercial goods first. That’s why what has happened in Gabon is an anomaly. Maybe because this is Africa?

Let’s have a deeper look at what happened with Gabonese Hip Hop below.

(DY/EU)


Gabon’s Political Force is its Thriving Hip-Hop Scene

by Alice Aterianus-Owanga, Université de Lausanne

In Gabon as in other African states, rap has become instrumental in constructing political identity.

On August 17, Gabon celebrated 57 years of independence with a massive free concert in the capital, Libreville. The aim: to promote national unity in a festive fashion. An impressive lineup of local hip hop stars – including Ba’Ponga, Tris, Tina and Ndoman – were invited to draw in the younger crowds.

The celebrations held particular significance in light of another, darker anniversary. Last year on August 31, a shockingly violent crisis erupted following President Ali Bongo’s contested electoral victory.

One year on, the country is still feeling the social, political and economic effects, as is its rap scene.

Violent demonstrations

In the early 1990s, Gabon’s government was shut down by violent demonstrations and a general strike. It forced dictator Omar Bongo, who had been in power since 1967, to set up a national conference reestablishing a multiparty system and granting greater freedom of expression.

‘African revolution’, one of V2A4’s first hits, explicitly mentions the misappropriation of public funds.

Against the backdrop of this popular uprising, the youth of Libreville began writing rap music. Inspired by American hip hop artists like Public Enemy and NWA, and French rappers like NTM and Assassin, they expressed their need for escape, freedom and change.

Si’Ya Po’Ossi X bluntly describes daily life in the ‘mapanes’, poor urban areas where the majority of people live.

Yet this subversive scene hasn’t been totally exempt from the kinds of ties between music and politics that have existed since the onset of African independence in the 1960s. In fact, some protest rappers have links to the “system” through family ties with political elites. V2A4, for example, is made up of the son of the Interior minister (a close relative to former president Omar Bongo) and the child of a local businessman. Both study in France and live off the wealth of the “system”.

Bling Gabon style

From the 2000s on, inspired by gangsta rap, video clips have started to feature more gold chains, souped-up cars, women in suggestive poses and virile displays of masculinity.

The rapper Kôba is an icon of bling culture in Gabon.

Ushered in by bling style rapper Kôba, a new generation of rappers began to write songs that deviated from the protest-driven hip hop of their predecessors. This trend was encouraged by the appearance of new record labels, with close ties to the government and elites, further reinforcing the link between music and politics.

This fusion between music and politics reached new highs during the 2009 election. Presidential candidate Ali Bongo used the popularity of rap artists to attract youth support and distinguish himself from his father, Omar, who had died in June that year.

Presidential candidate Ali Bongo on stage with rap stars from Hay’oe, who supported his campaign.

Following his election in 2009, Ali Bongo brought new faces from the world of hip hop into the government. Due to these kinds of affiliations, Bongo’s semi-authoritarian regime has exercised particularly tight control over the hip hop scene, in particular via the media.

Without jobs

Right from the start, Bongo’s first seven-year term in office was marked by a decline in living standards and social infrastructure and continuing high unemployment levels – more than 20% of the population, and 35% of young people are without jobs. This, while the Bongo family’s spending has reached outrageous highs.

Censorship and the co-option or silencing of opposition have become increasingly common. Dissenting hip hop artists now have to find alternative ways to spread their messages.

Most subversive rap is now produced abroad, with several well-known Gabonese rappers making their music in China, South Africa, the US or France. These artists-in-exile form a highly political network. Their songs reach the streets of Libreville through social media, becoming calls for political debate and action.

The title ‘Mister Zero’ was recorded in south of France by rapper Saik1ry who condemned Ali Bongo’s disastrous record, now an anthem at opposition demonstrations.

Back home, many artists continue the fight in spite of censorship. In 2015, outspoken rapper Keurtyce E became the first to release a song openly opposing the current regime.

Keurtyce directly threatens the President in his song ‘We’ll make a fresh start’

Beyond the lyrical content of these songs, Gabonese artists ingeniously use the musical arrangements to subversive ends.

Clever use of sampling

Sampling, cutting and looping allow artists to anchor their music within the local context, by using samples from traditional instruments or famous local songs, for instance. These techniques also carry political meaning, with artists mixing in lyrics, musical samples or slogans from activist musicians who they see as their ideological forebears.

Pierre-Claver Akendengué, for example, an icon of 1960s pan-Africanism and resistor to the authoritarian regime during the one-party system, remains a major source of inspiration for Gabonese musicians today.

The chorus from Movaizhaleine’s song ‘Aux choses du pays’ (To the stuff of our country) is adapted from the music of Akendengué

Rapper/producer Lord Ekomy Ndong recently demonstrated another means of subversion. In a new song in which he samples excerpts from a speech by President Ali Bongo, juxtaposed with the words of social media activists, to condemn corruption and misappropriation of public funds.

Subversion through juxtaposition by Lord Ekomy Ndong.

Flareups on social media

During last year’s election, a great rift appeared in the rap scene between supporters and opponents of the president. A series of flareups on social media and diss-and-response songs deepened the divide.

Bongo had his praise singers:

On the one side, rappers aligned with the Bongo family, involved in rallies and producing songs to support the incumbent party.

But Bongo’s opponents were as vocal:

On the other side, protest rappers, denounce increased corruption and poverty since Bongo has taken office.

Rappers who had previously cooperated with Bongo joined opposition movements to demonstrate their disappointment with government failures. It intensified after troops opened fire on demonstrators following the release of the election results. Several people were killed and numerous others disappeared.

Just two months after this crackdown, Kôba, former poster boy for the system, released the song “Odjuku”. The title is a reference to Bongo’s supposed Nigerian biological father. The rapper reignited the controversy surrounding the president’s origins and joined other artists in declaring “On ne te suit pas” (We don’t follow you).

Kôba,‘Odjuku’

Forgetting the quagmire

One year on, the government is trying to make people forget its quagmire with events such as the massive August 17 free concert.

Yet, the protest movement is still active: demonstrations continue within striking government departments and at Libreville University. In the streets of Paris and New York, Gabonese expats rally together.

LestatXXL/Lord Ekomy Ndong ‘Sur mon drapeau’ (By my flag)

Through their songs, rappers like Lestat XXL and Lord Ekomy Ndong, commemorate the sorrowful anniversary of the 2016 repression:

Here no one will forget. We’ll hoist up the flame…
No red on my flag. Nothing will ever be the same.


Alice Aterianus-Owanga is the author of “Rap Was Born Here! Music, Power and Identity in Modern Gabon”, published by Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, September 2017.

The ConversationTranslated from the French by Alice Heathwood for Fast for Word.

Alice Aterianus-Owanga, Postdoctoral researcher in Anthropology, Université de Lausanne

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Q&A: How Architecture Paved the Way for Syria’s War

by Hazem Badr

Young Syrian architect Marwa al-Sabouni stood behind the ruined buildings of Homs, her home city, in a picture chosen by the publishing house as the cover for her book, “The Battle for Home: Memoir of a Syrian Architect.”

Sabouni believes that architectural practices are one of the reasons that fuelled the conflict in Syria — by separating districts and dividing people based on their race or religion, fostering segregation and isolation, and so increasing the chances of conflict.

She reviewed the history of architecture in the city, comparing the old neighbourhoods of Homs to what they had become just prior to the outbreak of the conflict. And as a result of that review, she felt that modern architecture was one of the reasons behind the city’s loss of identity and social cohesion.

In a telephone interview with SciDev.Net from Syria, where she still lives, we discover a vision to transform her ideas into reality.

Hazem Badr: How did architecture play a role in the loss of identity and social cohesion?

Marwa al-Sabouni: The answer requires knowledge of the history of the ancient neighbourhoods of Homs, so as to compare the past with what they have become.

In the old neighbourhoods of Homs, people of different origins and religions lived together in one ‘melting pot’, coming together through elements of architecture. This was represented in neighbourhoods through small shops that met the needs of all residents, and public gardens that gave people living in the same neighbourhood a chance to meet in one place, in a sense ‘melting’ them into one socially cohesive society.

In this environment there was a sense of loyalty and belonging to the homeland. But this was lost with modern architecture, which turned the city into soulless concrete blocks.

So how would you take the idea of restoring the older architectural spirit to the authorities, considering the possibility that your theory might not be economically viable? 

The ideas I advocate in my book do not pay as much attention to the economic aspect as they do to retaining intimacy and harmony among the population. We should not have separate neighbourhoods for Turkmens, Alawites, farmers, and Bedouins, where each group lives in a secluded area. This segregation turned into a sectarian conflict.

I did not address the authorities in my book, yet I am puzzled by the ideas adopted in implementing slum housing projects. For example, in our Arab world, people are given concrete blocks as living units inside special housing projects. And this is along the lines of the categorization approach which resulted in loss of harmony.

Could you give me a practical example that goes against this thinking in architecture?

I tried to apply my ideas in the planning of Baba Amr (the two gates of Amr) neighbourhood, which was destroyed completely during the Syrian conflict. It contains what’s called the eighth gate of the city of Homs, which is distinct from the other seven gates as it comprises two gates.

I introduced the project to the UN-Habitat competition and won the first prize in 2014. I hope it will become the model for re-planning the rest of the slums, which account for 40 per cent of residential areas in Syria.

In planning this project, I turned the population’s psychological and spiritual needs into ideas in architecture — represented, for example, by backyard gardens and internal courtyards connected to each housing unit. I took into account the fact that these units should not be very high, so they become extensions of the streets in the neighbourhood; this is because modern architecture has killed off the pulse of life in the streets. The old neighbourhoods’ streets were like a family home in which people of different sects, races, and religions met, creating a sense of unity and harmony.

What about people’s basic needs, were they taken into account in the design?

Modern architecture established hyper- and super-markets, which are not much different in design from modern housing. Simply, they are concrete blocks where people gather and live.

On the other hand, the old markets adapted to the needs of the people. Instead of buying bread from the supermarket you could go to a baker; and when in need of any other commodity, a small shop would offer it. This created an intimate relationship between the seller and the buyer, regardless of their race and religion, and it also instilled harmony between people meeting each other in the market. In planning the Baba Amr neighbourhood I was keen on bringing back this sense of market community as well.

Your main idea is based on an architecture that does not discriminate between people of different ethnicities and religions. Doesn’t this contradict the Islamic design of some neighbourhoods in pre-conflict Syria?

This is an opportunity to talk about the concept of Islamic architecture. In the past, Islamic architecture was consistent with the human dimension that I advocate for — it didn’t differentiate between residents of the same neighbourhood based on their beliefs, and I adopted this in my design. In modern Islamic architecture, a group of architectural elements that aren’t authentic to Islamic design are being connected to each other randomly to give  a “false” Islamic appearance.

However, a sense of identity cannot be found in individual architectural characteristics. Rather, they are an indirect result of meaningful and beautiful design that is consistent with the spirit of a place.

Have you found a supporter to implement your ideas?

I’ve put down my thoughts in a book, which achieved significant sales in Europe — where it was published in English — yet it has not been distributed in the Arab world. I hope it will be translated into Arabic, and that my ideas find an attentive audience when the time comes to rebuild Syria.
This piece was produced by the Middle East and North Africa edition.

This article was originally published on SciDev.Net. Read the original article.

Music is Art because it’s Political

A Reflection from the Roger Waters Concert Tour.

About four months ago, Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters kicked off his North American tour entitled “Us + Them”. Although he performed many of old Pink Floyd songs, the tour was pretty much related to “Is This the Life We Really Want?”, his first solo album in twenty five years. As you might have guessed from the title, the nature of the tour was 100% political; it condemned the travesty of Donald Trump and his Presidency.

In an interview with Michael Smerconish on CNN, Waters explained his reason behind his politically-motivated tour,”In my view, you have to make your choice as to whether you do the right thing or the thing that makes you the most money.” When asked about people who are looking for escapism rather than politics at a rock concert, Waters simply said,” Go see Katy Perry, you know?”

Us + Them — Charade via Youtube:

What makes us flabbergasted is Roger Waters’ persistence in remaining political throughout his career amid the long standing massive commercialism. The fact that he is the “child” of counter culture movement in the 60s does not reduce such achievement since the majority of musicians from this generation has “left the building”. Being political has been the oxygen of all arts; it’s what gives arts the breath to be alive, kicking, and evolving to new forms.

Context and Art Forms

Rock (and just about any other genre within the popular music “industry”) has been dead for over 40 years; it has lost its purpose since the mid 1970s when most, if not all, of the artists bowed to commercialism, and no longer lived the context.

Making music hasn’t been about signifying the mind and conscience anymore; it’s been about making money and being famous. The irony behind this view and practice is the fact that every musical genre that has been commercialized and mobilized by “the industry” was born out of cultural and sociopolitical context, even in the case of Hip Hop, the today’s most popular genre. Fortune and super-stardom in music business evidently have swallowed the true roles and functions of music in societies.

Different time or period undergoes different context, and this is the very reason why music (and other art forms) keeps evolving and finding its new form. Almost two decades has passed in this 21st century, and world issues like global warming, racism, terrorism, anti immigrant & refugee, white supremacy, war, nationalism, extremism, and economic domination & injustice have perturbed humanity. In the meantime, the world still seems to have no common view in how to confront these dehumanizing matters, let alone the answer.

Arts that used to lead the way in addressing injustice and immorality seem to be too busy in making “sell-able and/or sensational goods”. Some people in the art scene argue that today is the period of individuality; others even say that art form is no longer relevant, any individual is entitled to create his/her own form. Well, an art form is a manifestation of a collective or common conceptual thought that grapples with growing and/or disturbing issues within the existing context; thus the societal concord in thought, message and act are the key elements that shape the forms in art.

In the case of Rock music, the birth of it is the proof of what we just discussed. The name Rock was meant to rock the mainstream mores and culture. The later sub-genres like Progressive, Punk, New Wave (in the US), and Grunge are simply affirmations of such proof. In late 60s, Progressive rock was born to disapprove commercialization (including the music modeling imposed by major labels) that swept the earlier generation; such disapproval was symbolized by presenting a sophisticated musical form with no concern whatsoever over whether the audience would like it. In the late 70s, Punk emerged while Progressive died out. Punk movement actually addressed the same issue, but came up with the opposite musical structure that progressive rock embraced; instead, they chose simple chords and disregarded technical virtuosity. Around the same time, New Wave in the US was more concerned about the press media that controlled information and shaped opinions. Still in the US, New Wave was also a self-critique to White people by ridiculing themselves with silly costumes and stage acts.

Gentle Giant, one of prominent Progressive Rock Bands – Another Show (Music provided by Vox de Cultura)

Talking Heads, one of the pioneers of New Wave from NYC – Lifetime Piling Up (Music provided by Vox de Cultura)

In mid 70s, Breaking (then developed into today’s Hip Hop) was also in the making. The gangs in South Bronx, New York City, had enough with the wars among themselves, and begun to focus on “war” against violence, and socioeconomic injustice. The movement transformed the gang war into art form, and “battle” was the chosen form. Breaking is a symbol of physical fight between “enemies”; the movement vocabularies are inspired by Kung Fu that was popularized by Bruce Lee at the time. Rap, on the other side, is a verbal battle in which two opposing sides throwing “lethal wordings” to each other until one side “surrenders”.

Grunge, in the late 80s, was voicing out the “young nobodies” in middle class America who were mostly unemployed due to the country’s economic downfall. The musical form was a result of a marriage between Hard Rock and Punk of the 70s that felt best in symbolizing the condition at the time. Being unemployed (and not because you’re lazy) is a miserable feeling. Grunge itself literally means filth or dirt, and that was how the young generation at the time felt about themselves; they felt as the dirt of society.

Such misery is well represented in the darkness of the music. The dreadful lyrics symbolize anxiety, the vocal is pretty much about torment, and the distorted guitar sound represents their being unfit in society.

“Canned” Music

The above brief descriptions show how a movement shapes the form of its art. Individuality always has a place, not in the shape of individual art form, but in signature. In High Renaissance art, we can easily differentiate the works of Da Vinci, Michael Angelo, Titian, and Rafael. In Baroque music, it’s easy to notice the differences among Vivaldi, Couperin, Bach, and Scarlatti. In Impressionism, the differences among Matisse, Cézanne, and Monet are quite obvious. In Rock music, it’s no way that we can’t tell the differences of guitar playing among Jimi Hendrix, Ritchie Blackmore, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page.

The non-existence of new common form of art today perhaps should be seen as the incapability of our societies to unite against inhumanity. The aforementioned individual form of art is not born out of collective concern or movement, and most works cannot be considered as new form(s) of art either. In music, for instance, most new works are mere replications of the old forms. There has been no new sub-genre in Jazz since Jazz Fusion, no new sub-genre in Rock since Grunge, no new sub-genre in Blues since Pop Blues, and no new sub-genre in Classical since the 20th Century music.

What we’ve been listening so far is actually a preserved music. If music is food, then we’re actually listening to “canned food” music; changes only takes place in packaging and prices, not in contents. Canned food is a preserved food, thus an all season edible; it remains the same no matter what the situation is. A can of Campbell soup is always a Campbell soup, in breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even in years time, a Campbell soup we had when we were kids will be the same soup we’re having at the time we are grandparents.

Preservation, Cultivation, and Evolution

Preservation has its own function; it’s the archive of the past that no longer lives. It’s important because we need to learn from our history. Never forget that our today is the result of our yesterday. In Classical music, preservation is called conservation, and that is the reason why the school for it is named Conservatory. Cultivation is the act of keeping our heritage living and functioning in real life. In the West, for example, criticism is a tradition that has been kept alive and well in their societies for hundreds of years. Evolution is the consequence of cultivation, and also a mechanism that eventually provides new solution(s) to the problems faced. There are past arts that we should preserve, there is cultural heritage that we should nurture, and there are new answers that we need to find to address present and future challenges.

 

During Vietnam War, Music Spoke to Both Sides of a Divided Nation

Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff, University of South Carolina

Music is central to Ken Burns’s new Vietnam War documentary, with an original score accompanied by samples of the era’s most popular musicians, from the Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan. According to USA Today, the people interviewed for the film were even asked to provide their 10 favorite songs from the war years.

While it’s natural that a historical film would include period-specific songs, music played an outsized role in the Vietnam War era. Whereas during past wars, musicians wrote songs to unite Americans, Vietnam-era music spoke to the growing numbers of disillusioned citizens, and brought attention to the cultural fissures that were beginning to emerge.

A unified sound

World War II influenced an entire generation – many say the “greatest” – but few of those who came of age in the 1940s would probably call music a core component of their collective identity.

Music did play an important role in the war, but only as a way to unite Americans; like the films, radio reports and newspapers accounts of the era, World War II music resounded with patriotism.

Glenn Miller and his lively swing orchestra played hits such as “Tuxedo Junctionfor U.S. troops, while bandleaders such as Benny Goodman and U.S.O. entertainers such as Bob Hope reinforced the government’s promotion of unwavering patriotism to willing and eager listeners.

Young people embraced swing music for what historians David Stowe and Lewis Erenberg describe as the genre’s democratic ethos – the way Americans of different races and ethnicities enjoyed a new kind of sound with an upbeat tempo and new dance moves such as the Lindy Hop.

A huge crowd fills New York’s West 52nd Street for a swing party to raise war bonds in July 1942. AP Photo

 

As I argue in my book “Black Culture and the New Deal,” the government also employed African-American musicians such as Duke Ellington and Lena Horne to boost the morale of black citizens and project democratic values on the home front and for troops. Many African-Americans hoped a battle against fascism could lead to the end of discrimination in the U.S.

Songs of resistance

But Vietnam was different. Unlike the 1940s – when Americans thought the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and Nazi aggression in Europe justified the sacrifices of war – young people in the 1960s were deeply suspicious of the government’s decision to go into Southeast Asia. As the military’s commitment grew and the body counts piled up, many couldn’t understand what they were fighting for.

Songs were able to express these feelings of anger and confusion with lyrics that could be abstract – like Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” – or explicit, such as Phil Ochs’s “I Ain’t Marching Anymore.”

Music also filled a void in the country’s media landscape. Hollywood didn’t release films that probed the complex nature of the Vietnam War until years after the fall of Saigon. While television news broadcasting became more critical after the Tet Offensive, the big networks were hesitant to promote entertainers who were vocally opposed to the war. Popular programs would censor artists who planned to perform protest music; for example, in 1967, folk singer Pete Seeger appeared on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” only to discover that his song “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy” would be later be cut due to its anti-war message.

Because Vietnam-era musicians seemed to be the only people talking about America’s failure to live up to its democratic principles, many young people viewed them as “their own.”

Protest music took several forms. There was The Beatles’ more tepid “Revolution” and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s everyman anthem “Fortunate Son.” Groups like the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane excoriated the hypocrisy of American values, shunned commercialism and supported anti-imperial movements across the globe. People chanted lyrics while marching, listened during gatherings like the “Be-In” in San Fransisco’s Golden Gate Park or simply absorbed the meaning and messages of these songs on their own.

Forgotten voices

Much of the power of Vietnam War-era music came from its connection to the civil rights movement. Young men and women in the black freedom struggle had, since the 1950s, broadened their call for freedom to encompass oppressed people around the world. Artists like Nina Simone, Dylan and Seeger had been chronicling the tragedies of southern violence in their music, so pointing out the wrongs of Vietnam came naturally.

But interestingly, Google searches for “Vietnam Era Music” yield only protest music. This disregards the many who found the protesters abhorrent, who undoubtedly listened to apolitical songs or songs that backed the military.

The Americans that President Richard Nixon dubbed “the silent majority” – those angered by protesters – constituted a huge swath of the country. They had catapulted Nixon to the presidency and fueled a resurgent conservative political movement. The deep-seated resentment felt by so many Americans – against those on college campuses, those who defied military orders, those who questioned American patriotism – cannot be ignored, and they, too, turned to music that provided solace. Merle Haggard said he wrote his 1969 hit song “Okie From Muskogee” to support U.S. soldiers who “were giving up their freedom and lives to make sure others could stay free.”

“What the hell did these kids have to complain about?” he wondered.

To many, students on college campuses knew nothing about the true meaning of sacrifice. The Spokesmen’s pro-Vietnam ballad “Dawn of Correction” insisted on the “need to keep free people from red domination,” while “The Battle Hymn of Lt. Calley,” performed by C Company and Terry Nelson, topped Billboard charts. (The song defended Lt. William Calley who, in 1971, was convicted of slaughtering civilians in the Vietnamese village of Mai Lai.)

The popularity of these songs paints another portrait of the war; politically, the music was much more multifaceted than is often remembered.

The ConversationHopes for the era weren’t as simple as the Animals’ “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” which promised “there’s a better life for me and you.” Instead, understanding the music of the Vietnam War era requires indulging a variety of perspectives. The overseas conflict cannot be divorced from the culture war back home – a battle over who gets to define the nation’s identity.

Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff, Associate Professor of History, University of South Carolina

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Obituary – Gauri Lankesh

Recently, on September 6, 2017, we read an obituary of Gauri Lankesh (55 year old), a female Indian journalist senior, writer and activist (secularist-nationalist). Lankesh was assassinated inside her residence in Bengaluru city (India). Police found three bullet wounds on her body and yet the murderers remain unknown. Nevertheless, it is presumed that Gauri Lankesh’s murder was due to the criticism that she bravely countered political interest of “far-right wing” Hindu nationalists. Before the death of Gauri Lankesh, there were a few leftish academics and journalists who have also been murdered. However, people who mourns the loss of her existence held protest rally in some regions in India. India seems to be having a restless point to maintain democracy in its sovereignty. And yet, fascist practices still exist in some communities.

Nowadays we keep seeing  the politics of religion practiced in many parts of the world; the killings of moslems by Ma Ba Tha (a paranoid Buddhist movement in Myanmar) and Front Pembela Islam or FPI (agitating Islamist group) that despises the Christian Governor of Jakarta are examples of such practice.

Regarding the brave act initiated by Gauri Lankesh, she will be remembered by women, the press, and the world. Her criticism is a prominent message to voice out the freedom of press. Without any criticism on this world, everything would be very subjective. LttW stands by Sacred Bridge Foundation’s principal, whereas a single perception is dangerous for humankind.